mommyverbs

Engaging Each Day with Action Words

Review. — 2013 Report Prepared By Those Lil’ Monkeys Again.

Many thanks to the WordPress.com stats helper monkeys who put this 2013 annual report together for MommyVerbs.

They are the best lil’ flying monkeys around. Not at all scary like in the Wizard of Oz. Because they add fireworks. I do love me some fireworks.

MommyVerbs has really begun to grow into its own this year. What started out as a little therapy on the cheap, a few fun stories and a couple of reflections, has now turned into a good friend. A place to come and be. A place to question. A place to share. MommyVerbs has a few official fans now. Beyond my Mom and my Nonnie, even.  MommyVerbs is getting a reputation, and I’ve even heard from a few folks that I didn’t know were connected to it, share that they enjoy reading it. That always makes me smile.  I hope those who like it will continue to share it with others who may enjoy it, too.

And for me,  MommyVerbs continues to make me be intentional … to be real about engaging each day with action words.

2013 also included a few MommyVerbs pieces showing up on The Huffington Post. A highlight for sure. AND MommyVerbs was also Freshly Pressed this year, a goal since this blog began in 2012. I’ve met a lot of good bloggy friends and I appreciate what they add to the conversation, how their writing challenges me, how they help me with my bloggy questions and beyond.

MommyVerbs has much in store for 2014. Maybe a few guest posts. Maybe a new format or design. Maybe even a MommyVerbs t-shirt … or two. You’ll have to stick around to see what happens.

mommyverbs tshirt1

Which is exactly why New Year’s Eve is my favorite holiday. It is a new calendar. A blank page. A fresh start.

And to quote my high school graduation speech (which was really quoting “Remington Steele” and “Say Anything”:

“Just think of the possibilities. And…Get ready for greatness, Lloyd.”

Happy New Year! Welcome 2014! 

If you are interested, here is a full report of MommyVerb actions this year.  It’s kind of fun and worth the tiny effort of the click. Besides, those ‘lil monkeys worked hard on this. 

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 15,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 6 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Collect. — Calling All Signature ‘TagLines’

Last year,  I decided to change my personal signature line.  You know what I’m talking about. The way we sign our letters, notes, emails. I have been a closet collector of others’ ‘tag lines’ over the past year or so.

“Peace and Cheers”
“Love and Light”

I adopted the phrase, “Enjoy the Day” and tried to make it mine. Take care and Enjoy the day. Thanks and Enjoy the day. The idea was to bring focus to really enjoying each and every day. There’s nothing wrong wth that. Let’s really be intentional about finding times in our days to enjoy. Have fun with. Notice. Pay attention.

But then I discovered that it wasn’t enough.

In my professional life, I am constantly talking to folks about actively engaging students in their learning. Whoever does the most work, learns the most. Students have to be actively engaged in their own learning in order to get the most out of it. I swear I say that every day.

And I decided that was what I want to do each day. I don’t want to just enjoy the day. I want to engage it. I want to engage with it. I want to get dirty and make a mess with it. I want to mess up and make it right. I want to pay attention, but actively give attention to it. I want to be an active participant with each day. I want to notice it, but also make a note of it.

I’m here to do the work. I want to learn the most. So for the past year,  I have been using the line:

Engage the Day.

But again…it is time for a change. 

With a new year comes a new tagline. A new focus. A few new goals.

My experiences recently trying to help organize The Giving Tree Food Pantry Angel Tree have taught me some very important lessons.

Lessons about faith.

Lessons about hope.

Lessons about believing.

Lessons about doubt.

Lessons about needs and wants.

Lessons about enough.

Lessons about action.

Lessons about being still.

Lessons about what is important.

Lessons about what is not.

So, I’m playing around with finding a new personal signature line for 2014:

Faith. Hope. Fishes and Loaves.

What do you think?

I know. I know. They are not verbs. But they might as well be.

I figure it might raise a few eyebrows, maybe a few questions. Either way, should be a fun conversation starter of sorts.

So. Now I’m coming out of the collecting closet and I want to know…

What is your signature tag line and why did you choose that? What does it mean to you? What’s the story behind it?

Send me a message or leave a comment and I’ll put together a post, tagging you of course, to share and inspire others!

Happy Taglining!

Faith. Hope. Fishes and Loaves.

MommyVerbs

tagline

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Haiku. — It’s a Verb Now… A Thing I Do.

The Daily Post’s Weekly Writing Challenge: Haiku Catchoo

When I’m out of time

and it is almost midnight

and there’s been no post…

It’s time to Haiku.

Haiku is now an action.

I verbified it.

Afraid to Haiku?

Nonsense. You can do it, too.

You just need a pen.

And a free hand to

count syllables as you write.

Five. Seven. And five.

Never mind rhyme, just

count the syllables and string

your words together

To tell your story.

But you have to be concise.

And use words to … move.

If you are writing,

then it all counts toward your

… NaBloPoMo goals.

haiku

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Question. — A Prompt to the Rescue!

mommyverbs questions

I have now officially been daily-blogging for 38 days straight. 38 days. I have 3 days left to meet my self-imposed countdown to my birthday.

NaBloPoMo says that I have 10 more days.

We’ll see, NaBloPoMo , … we’ll see.

So, it is 9:50 p.m. after a long, long day AND after just reading a work-related email that just raised my blood pressure by many points and annoyed me to no end.

But, I’m not one that quits easily, so I went to the record store WordPress Reader to check in on my friends. (Name the movie reference in the comments. Random, meaningless points and my endearing movie quote adoration goes to the readers with the correct answers!)

Thankfully, PhrogMom’s Weblog was there for me, to the rescue, with a link to Suzie81’s Blog and her challenge to answer a few questions.

With the clock ticking, knowing that this deadline is looming and being so close to this finish line…

I’ll take it. Thanks to both PhrogMom’s Weblog and Suzi81’s Blog for the inspiration tonight…and saving my bloggy arse at the last minute!

1. Why have you chosen your blog name?

I have always loved action words. Verbs are my favorite. I wanted a name that would help me keep my writing focused on engaging in action words every day. I’m a Mom and knew that most or many of my stories would be about this parenting journey. So, MommyVerbs was born.

2. When you have an hour of free-time, what do you do?

I write.

3. If you could choose to stay a certain age forever, what would it be?

I’m completely cool with where I am right now, counting down to 41. Bring it.

4. If you could learn to do something, what would it be?

I would love to learn to play the guitar. I regret not learning to play a musical instrument. What an absolute gift it is to be able to make your own music whenever you want it. This is why I am pushing piano lessons on the kiddos…trying to convince them that they want to do this!

5. What would be the first thing you would buy if you won the lottery?

Plane tickets. For four. For lots of places.

6. What is the thing that makes you absolutely unique?

I am me. First child. Type A. People pleaser. Daughter. Sister. Wife. Mother. Teacher. Writer. Entrepreneur-wanna be. Book tour ready. Oh. Not unique?

Well then, here’s something else. I have become more and more claustrophobic as I have gotten older, but I love to have really heavy blankets on me at night. I feel like I sleep better if the blankets are ‘pushing me down’ at night. I think it is also a subconscious way to decompress and wind down after multi-tasky spinning all day long.

7. What is your favorite blog?

I don’t know that I have a favorite favorite….but I am thankful to many new blogger friends here in WordPressland: Rarasaur, Jenn’s Midlife Crisis, BonneVivanteLife, Lead Our Lives, who have made me feel so at home ever since I arrived. And I love and admire the work of Finding Joy and Momastery and I Want A Dumpster Baby and so many others…I could go on and on…and on.

So there it is. #38. In the books. A few questions answered.

It’s late. Call it done. As it is. Done.

Let’s all, Go. Do that.

11 Comments »

Press. — That Almost Wasn’t. Now On To the Next Thing.

Soon after I first started blogging in the WordPress community, I remember stumbling upon the Freshly Pressed page.

I think back on it now like it was the mystery glowing gold suitcase in Pulp Fiction. I still remember the “oooohhhhh”s and “aaaahhhhs”s I mumbled as I marveled at how these amazing authors were selected to be highlighted on this page.

I was in awe. I loved their words. And I loved the look of their little blue circle W badges on their pages. So pretty.

I even wrote about wanting to be freshly pressed here, here and here. And Ok. Yes. Even here.

But it wasn’t happening. I wasn’t getting ‘discovered’. I wasn’t getting anyone’s attention.

And over the next few months, I began to fully realize and recognize just how…H.U.G.E. the WordPress community actually is.

It is B.I.G.

And with B.I.G., come complicated logistics, making it hard to find my lil’ ol’ blog.

Just a couple of weeks ago, I heard from a precious blogger friend of mine that she was having some struggles because of some unpleasant followers of her bloggy goodness.

So, I began to question whether or not it was worth it. To be Pressed or not to be pressed?

Maybe it was just too much trouble.

Maybe there is something to be said for growing readership organically. Not too fast. But one, by one. Making connections and friendships along the way.

Maybe I should just focus on what I can handle. In my crazy, need to take a pause, tired working Momma kind of life, I should just focus on what I can handle.

Maybe I should focus on  my blog as it is meant to be.

But then.

Then.

I got this beautiful email from WordPress Editors when I checked my phone like I do upon waking at 4:30 a.m.

From the lovely Michelle, telling me “Congratulations!”

And then

Then.

It was all different.

I remembered why I wanted to be freshly pressed after all.

I immediately felt butterflies in my stomach and resisted the urge to wake up the best friend/partner/hubby so early to share the news.

I ran through the internet to get to the post to make sure that there were no typos, no silly errors.

And then

Then.

I smiled.

I. Am. Freshly. Pressed.

I have a little blue Circle W. of my very own on my sidebar.

And I have so enjoyed the little diddleding that my phone has made over and over and over today as I meet new bloggy friends and respond to new bloggy messages.

It is every bit as mysterious glowy gold as I thought it would be.

I. Am. Freshly. Pressed.

Yes.

Now. As I have been saying all day long, ” On to the next thing.”

Let’s all, Go. Do that!

pressed

Thanks WordPress. This is a super fun ride. I’m not getting off anytime soon.

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Drop. — Balls and Plates and Whatnot.

Well, it finally happened.

I knew this was coming. It was inevitable.

One can only keep so many plates spinning at one time.

Just so many balls in the air.

And today,

I let one fall.

Fortunately, it wasn’t a huge one, more like a ping pong ball.

But as I watched it bounce across the floor and roll under the bookcase, I realized just how much we are all doing.

Every day. We are busy. Our days are full.

And then we go and make our days full of more.

Maybe fuller than they have to be. Than they need to be.

From morning to night, our days are full of action words. MommyVerbs.

Mother. Shower. Cook. Pack. Comb. Brush. Clean. Find. Call. Drive. Greet. Email. Respond. Problem Solve. Eat. Talk. Write. Think. Check. Teach. Help. Support. Text. Care. Blog. Coach. Commiserate. Compliment. Create. Plan. Grade. Connect.  Parent. Listen. Sing. Cheer. Rock. Bathe. Kiss. Hug. Write. Sleep.

And get up and do it all over again tomorrow.

To Do lists that no longer fit on one page, but now have to be kept in notebooks.

And when I look at all I do, I know that I have the power to change it. I could choose to stop.

I could choose to let some things go and have more time to sit and just be.

But I can’t figure out which should go away.

Because there is a part of me that enjoys the juggling and the spinning.

And the consequence of being a spinning juggler is that …

I have to learn to be good… with letting one get away from me every now and then.

I just have to learn to be really good with super glue when the pieces occasionally crash down.

Because all of that…Action.

Is who I am. Right now.

And it’s working.

Let’s all, Go. Do that.

Today’s Action Challenge: Take a look at your To Do list.  Is it manageable? Is it doable? Is there anything that you want/need to come off? What’s missing? What should you be doing that you haven’t made a priority? Add that to your list.

Let’s all, Go. Do that.

plates and balls

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Unplug. — Why I Refuse to Feel Guilty.

I know. I know.

We spend a lot of time in front of screens. We spend time on our phones, on our computers, on iPads and watching TV.

I know. I know.

We are supposed to unplug every now and then.

I know. I know.

We are supposed to get back to nature. Go for a hike. Sit and enjoy a landscape. Explore a new place. Talk… in person… with our loved ones.

I get it. Yes. Unplugging is a good thing.

But.

This weekend the best friend/partner/hubby and I had planned a get away weekend. Just the two of us. We arranged months in advance with the Nana for X and Y sitting. We rented a little cabin in the woods. We had visions of doing some chilling. Some running. Maybe a little hiking. Some exploring. Walking around a little downtown. Getting a little food in a cute little deli. Or a sweet treat in a little bakery. Spending some time, catching up, enjoying the ability to finish a sentence with each other.

And.

We were also looking forward to doing a little work. Not that kind of work work. The work we want to do on the projects we want to work on. Our little entrepreneurial adventures. His business. His website. My blogging. My book. This is the work we enjoy. The work that is the stuff of our passions. This is the work that we don’t often get a chance to do. The work that is fun for us.

We were excited about it. We even talked about it on the way up to the cabin. We talked about this and took time to stop at an overlook to really take in the beautiful landscape.

road

So, one of the requirements of our little cabin in the woods was that it have Wi-Fi. Access to internet. Which we were assured we would have. Which is why we picked this place in the first place.

And when we arrived. That was the thing that was missing. Well, that and cell phone service. At all. Or even a phone at all. Or food. Or access to any food without at least a 20 minute drive. And that food would be from a gas station.

So.

We walked up to the main lodge to use their phone, since our cells were not working, to call the ‘concierge on call’.

This is when we were greeted by a very unhappy, semi-unpleasant, loud and mostly rude woman who could not believe that we would come up here to the mountains and be so concerned about having internet access. “Why don’t you just unplug?”, she said. “Why don’t you just enjoy the nature? The scenery? The landscape?”

Why can’t we do both?

This was our only vacation. Just the two of us. A little late anniversary gift. This was our time. We planned it. We researched it.  We selected it based on what we wanted. Which was what we were promised. Which is NOT what we received.

So. I refuse.

I refuse to feel guilty for not wanting to unplug this weekend.

If we had come up here to go hiking or fishing or exploring than we would have picked a place to do that.

But we wanted a chill weekend. A chance to do some of our projects that we enjoy working on.

Some of our projects that include access to the internet … and … views like this.

view


And if the unplugged lady is so inspired by views like this, you would think she would at least be a bit more…pleasant.

So, I refuse. I refuse to feel guilty over not unplugging this weekend.

I am actually quite proud of us for cutting our losses and moving out and moving on to another place that better met our needs.

Because our play-work time is limited.

And if it was not what we want, and we had some control over it….Let’s make the changes.

In order to get what we need to help us do what we want to do.

Let’s all, Go. Do that.

Today’s Action Challenge: Design your ideal getaway weekend. Think of all of the things you want to do and build in time to do these. Where will you go? What will you do? What are the requirements of the place you travel to? Do you want spa time? Do you want to be able to plug in or completely unplug? Do you need solitude or lots of others? Organize a travel itinerary and include everything you need to help you do what you want.

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Sock. — Saturated in Mismatched Colors.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Saturatedsocks

A bunch of new socks

together for the last time

in the girl’s drawer. 

Click here to learn more about our mis-matched sock MommyVerb Adventures. 

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Fall. — Color it in…One Piece at a Time

I’ve always wanted to be an artist. I would love to be able to have the talent to pick up a pen and draw what I see or what I imagine. It would make my life so much easier because I have so many stories. Stories that are just waiting for an illustrator.

But I’ve never been an artist. At least not in the traditional sense.

Give me a pen. A journal. Some paint. A canvas. Some material. A sewing machine. Some magazines and scissors.

Then give me some TIME.

And then see what I can make happen.

****************************************

In college, I was given an assignment. To this day, it is one of my all-time favorite projects.

The goal was to learn about color.

Not just learn about color, but really get inside color. Create color. Play with color. Make your own color.

I started with one of my favorite photographs.

fall photo picmonkey

A tree in New York City. In Central Park. In front of the Dakota Building. Where John Lennon once lived.

Then, I had to create a collage. One piece at a time. Cut out pictures and colors from magazines to re-create this image.

three fall pictures picmonkey

In a new way. Create a new image. Full of color. One tiny piece at a time.

Try it a few different ways. See what works and what doesn’t.

fall collage picmonkey

Then, I had to use only six acrylic paint colors to recreate this image.

Red. Yellow. Blue. Green. White. Black.

To mix. And try. And try again. And start over. And mix again.

To make every other color in life.

And then paint it. Recreate the same image in a brand new way.

Recreate it to see what you get.

fall painting picmonkey

It might just be my own personal masterpiece. Maybe no one else sees it.

But, I framed it and hung it on my wall along with the original photograph and the collage I created.

Because the process of getting there, was just as important to me as the final product.

It is and always has been a tribute to my favorite season.

Fall.

Fall is a turning.

Fall is an opportunity.

Fall is another trip around this side of the Sun.

Fall is the colors.

Fall is golds and yellows and faded greens. Fall is oranges and maroons.

Fall is cool evenings and the possibility of campfires on the weekends.

Fall is sleeping with the windows open.

Fall is hearing the echo of the High School football game announcements of tackles and touchdowns, as I sit on the back porch with a glass of Cabernet.

Fall is the return of my favorite sweatshirts and jeans.

Fall is the chance to try again.

Fall is trying something new.

Fall is preparing.

Fall is practicing.

And fall never expects perfection.

It just wants you to really get in there…and play with its color.

Let’s All, Go. Do that.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/09/22/daily-prompt-talent/

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Audition. — Keeping it real because it has to be better than that time in 9th grade…

In the spring of my freshman year in high school, I auditioned for the school Talent Show.

With a little help from my friends, we built a huge cardboard Yellow Submarine. We painted it. We decorated it. We cut out the porthole windows so that they could open and shut.

Why there are no existing pictures of this masterpiece, I will never understand.

It was…brilliant.

And we all crouched down behind the yellow cardboard submarine, waited for the Ringo classic to blast through the old auditorium and then we auditioned. We lip-synched our hearts out all the while performing stellar choreography that included synchronous opening and shutting of the little cardboard porthole windows that we could stick our heads through. I think we were just about to stand up and do a dance while pretending to be ‘swabbing the deck’ … ahem, yes, of the submarine. (I know, I’m shaking my head right now, too)… when we heard it.

The gong.

Yes, we were “gonged” off of the stage during the live audition. I think I even heard the announcer say something clever like, “They’re going down…..”

Yeah. Clever.

So, when I decided about 20 minutes ago to audition for something else…I can only hope this goes better than that.

I’m auditioning to be on Blogger Idol 2013!  Because #writersarethenewrockstars! (Do hashtags work on blogs?! I don’t care, I’m doing it anyway because I play fast and loose with punctuation AND symbols.)

And because MommyVerbs is all about:

Doing my own therapy on the cheap, as a working Momma, a newly tattooed and just turned 40 year old who enjoys writing about life with X and Y while playing fast and loose with punctuation…engaging each day…one action word at a time.

I gotta tell ya, that I’m going to audition and keep it real at the same time.

Yes, I’m a blogger. But I’m a blogger in real time, in real life, in the real world.

I don’t have a fancy computer and a fancy office with a fancy, comfy chair in a secluded quiet part of my house where I can steal away and have focused time to write.

Nope. As we speak, I’m leaning on the kitchen counter where the computer lives, looking at the clock, knowing that I have about 10 minutes to get this done. I’ve just come from the bathroom where the five year old boy child ‘needed my help’…don’t ask, really, don’t ask…and I’ve now reminded the girl-child for the 4th time that she needs to go hop in the shower and wash that bird nest that is currently sitting on the top of her head because she has Girl Scouts in about 45 minutes. No one has eaten breakfast and the sink is full of dishes from last night. I’m still in my pjs and robe and I’ve got a list a mile long of things that we need to accomplish today.

So, sure, this seems like a fabulous time to stop everything and blog about my audition to be in the Top 12 of Blogger Idol 2013. Right?!

But if you want to know what MommyVerbs is all about….this is it. Mommy Blogging in real time. In real life. In the real world.

One action word at a time.

This morning…it just happens to be … Audition.

Blogger Idol 2013. It is bound to be epic. And if by some crazy yellow submarine inspired miracle, I actually make it into the Top 12…be prepared to hear a lot about it. I’ll be begging asking for your votes… did I mention, a lot?!

So, while I’m tagging and linking and tripping over the million trucks that the boy-child just lined up in my kitchen around my feet, I challenge you to do something spontaneous today. Something silly. Something on the fly.

Take a chance. Build a yellow submarine with a little help from your friends.

Play more.

Let’s all, Go. Do that.

Me? I’m auditioning for the Top 12 of Blogger Idol 2013!

Because I do believe…Writers ARE the new Rock Stars!

Since there is no documentation of the Yellow Submarine fiasco, here's the next closest thing ... our family Beatles walk. Yeah. That happened. But since I need a new computer and some shock-flash thing wasn't working, I couldn't do magic with this picture on PicMonkey. Did I mention I blog in real time? And now we are going to be real-time late for Girls Scouts...ack. Enjoy the day!

Since there is no documentation of the Yellow Submarine fiasco, here’s the next closest thing … our family Beatles walk. Yeah. That happened. But since I need a new computer and some shock-flash thing wasn’t working, I couldn’t do magic with this picture on PicMonkey. Did I mention I blog in real time? And now we are going to be real-time late for Girls Scouts…ack. Enjoy the day!

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